Stressing more about stress less laugh more

A look at how a Jefferson staple, Stress Less Laugh More can be improved.


The tjTODAY staff pose with Jackson the therapy dog during one of his classroom visits during Stress Less Laugh More week.

Sid Ram, Social Media Manager

From puppies to parfaits to pajama day, stress less laugh more week is firmly rooted in Jefferson tradition, and while it is a well-intentioned initiative, it fails in its primary objective. Stress less laugh more week aims to help students decompress during a particularly stressful part of the year, but in fact, the time of year voids any good that students get from the week’s festivities. Additionally, de-stressing techniques and mental well being should be promoted throughout the year as opposed to a single week.

Don’t get me wrong, I love petting the therapy dogs when they come to visit. I love a tasty yogurt parfait, and I love being comfortable in my pajamas at school, but during this time of year, they make no difference in my mentality. This is the homestretch of the school year, the final push, the ultimate struggle, the boss fight. With AP tests looming just ahead in the calendar, and finals just after that, there is nothing that could really stop me from being stressed. The dogs, the food and the clothes are a wonderful distraction, for a little while, and then it’s back to the grind. Students could benefit much more from these treats if they were scheduled for a much less stressful part of the year. For example, in a less stressful part of the year, teachers would be more inclined to allow therapy dogs to interrupt instructional times because the pressure of standardized exams is not present.

This brings me to my second point. Mental health and distressing techniques are very important, and for the most part, Jefferson does a good job with these. But the fundamental problem with stress less laugh more week is that it lasts only one week. The components of healthy living that are pushed for during stress less week should be highlighted more regularly; perhaps once a month (like fire drills) or at least once per quarter It is necessary to stress (pun intended) the importance of mental wellbeing just as it is important to practice evacuating the building in case of a fire. Especially at a school with the rigor of Jefferson, more opportunities should be taken to allow students to wind down.

Aside from the fact that it is situated in a busy part of the year, stress less week is often no different to a regular week when comparing homework loads. In fact, in some classes, the workload happens to increase during this time. This obviously takes away from the message the school is trying to send. Plans should be made to ensure that the pace of classes will slow to accommodate stress less week. Everyone from students to teachers and administrators should be on board and working towards relieving students of some of their workload during this week. This brings me back to my argument that a new part of the year should be found for this so that it does not conflict with testing.

All things considered, the school makes a valiant effort at helping students momentarily forget the stress that May brings with it. The dogs are adorable and the parfaits are delicious. But with some minor improvements, stress less laugh more week can be that much more impactful and beneficial to students. The bottom line: Keep the dogs coming back!